On the Couch with Dean Bryant

Dean Bryant_oncWho is Dean Bryant?
Director, writer, lyricist.  Someone who loves to play with words and human lives, and then trundle them out onstage.  Someone who definitely loves to make people laugh.  Don’t mind some tears, too.

What would you do differently to what you do now?
I think I would’ve loved being a dancer most of all.  I still can’t stop myself from moving if there’s music.  Doubt I would’ve had the discipline, even if I had started young enough.  Plus, my career would’ve already been over by now!

Who inspires you and why?
Simon Phillips.  Apart from being a brilliant director, who I’ve been assisting (and laughing and drinking with) for nine years on six different shows (and ten productions of just one of those shows), he is the ultimate role model in how to make people feel good and valued.  My dad is also equally great with people and has also endowed us kids with the core belief that we can do anything we want.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
What I’m doing.  Creating shows that allow audiences to empathise with another set of human being’s lives.  In every piece I’ve created from the first, Prodigal (coming out in a country town) to my most recent Gaybies (growing up with a gay parent) I’m interested in having people say “I get that person and how their life relates to mine”.  The most common response I get to my show Britney Spears: The Cabaret is “I hated Britney but now I feel for her”.  Empathy is something we could all use more of.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
Rio was the place I’ve been most blown away by immediately.  Two seconds out of the airport it’s utterly beautiful, trees, sun, beaches, gorgeous architecture.  The Brazilians are such a joyous people and that city is pure magic.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take then to, and why?
If friends came to town I’d show off my apartment – it’s on Collins St, 100 years old and has a gorgeous view.  Then we’d hit one of my favourite restaurants on Flinders Lane and go to Supper Club for a sticky date pudding.  I doubt we’d get to the penguins.

What are you currently reading?
Rabbit at Rest
.  I ploughed through John Updike’s Rabbit Angstrom trilogy, which sees his central average American male in his mid 20s, then 30s, 40s and finally late 50s.  It’s marvellous writing, bitingly truthful about the beauty and limitations of getting through life. It can be a bit depressing to see human behaviour so unsentimentally portrayed, but it’s also reassuring that the thoughts you’ve had, everyone has.

What are you currently listening to?
Lana Del Ray’s album.  I haven’t been so gripped by an album for years. So melancholy and catchy.  I was introduced to it via Daniel Schlusser’s wonderful production of Menagerie.  I think the album will be influential on my next project.

Happiness is?
Billi Billi Shiraz.  Seeing my nephews and nieces.  Watching Melissa McCarthy or Kristen Wiig on appleTV on the couch with my boyfriend.

What does the future hold for you?
More humans on stage, more laughter and more tears.  Definitely more Billi Billi Shiraz.

Dean Bryant has directed Next to Normal (MTC), Hansel and Gretel (OzOpera), The Producers, Anything Goes and upcoming The Pirates of Penzance (The Production Company), The Last Five Years (45DS, Stables – Helpmann nomination).

Writer/director credits include Liza (on an E) (West End season), Britney Spears: The Cabaret, Newley Discovered and I’m Every Woman (Sydney Opera House), Josie in the Bathhouse (Spiegeltent), Experiment, Sweet Dreams: Songs by Annie Lennox and In Vogue: Songs by Madonna (Edingburgh Fringe).

With composer Mathew Frank musicals include Prodigal (off-Broadway, York Theatre, Green Room – Best Original Score), Once We Lived Here (Green Room – Best Musical), Virgins: A Musical Threesome (Tower – Malthouse Theatre) and upcoming The Silver Donkey, and songs for Amy Winehouse episode of Ten’s Mr & Mrs Murder.

Most recently Dean created Gaybies for the Midsumma 25th Anniversary, which played a triumphant season at Melbourne’s Sumner Theatre. He is currently directly DC Moore’s Straight for Red Stitch Actors Theatre.

For more information, visit: www.redstitch.net for details.

Image: Dean Bryant